Users often wonder how they can buy Pro Tools and how much the different models and versions cost. In this comprehensive guide, we explain the pricing and feature differences between various Pro Tools options.
Pro Tools First Offers Local Storage
Let’s begin with Pro Tools First, the no-cost version of Pro Tools. Although it’s free, you will have access to some paid options that expand the application’s functionality. At the same time Pro Tools 12.8 was released, Avid also released a Pro Tools First update. Now, you’ll have the Track Freeze feature, the capability to work with other Pro Tools Users, and an available expanded plan. It includes the local storage of Pro Tools First sessions for only $4.99 each month.
Rental or Perpetual
Before we talk about Pro Tools Standard and HD, it’s important to note that you have the choice of a perpetual license (a Pro Tools copy to keep forever) or a monthly/yearly license. The perpetual version of Pro Tools Standard costs $599 with a one-year upgrade capability. To update your copy beyond that, you’ll need to purchase an upgrade plan for $99 per year.
Stopping Payments for the Upgrade Plan
If you decide the $99 yearly upgrade plan isn’t for you, your copy of Pro Tools won’t stop working. However, once you are no longer making payments, you won’t be able to keep your copy updated. It will keep on working and your license will not expire. However, your old version of Pro Tools will eventually cease to work with your current computer OS.
Packages and Prices: Pro Tools HD
With the Pro Tools 12.6 release, Avid stopped bundling the HD software, hardware, and interfaces, which means you can buy your preferred options a la carte. For instance, you’ll be able to purchase the Pro Tools HD software without paying extra for an interface or a card.
The Pro Tools HD DigiLink IO License: Cost and Usability
When it decoupled the interface from the software bundles, Avid introduced a DigiLink I/O license for all users, whether they have Avid’s interface or one from a third party. This one-time license costs $299, no matter how many interfaces you have. As an existing customer, you may automatically receive the DigiLink license for no additional charge. However, if you’re purchasing a new HD system without Avid’s interface, you’ll have to buy the license separately.
Pro Tools HD (Software Only)
Since mid-September 2016, Pro Tools HD software has been available as a rental subscription or a perpetual license.
- The Perpetual version cost $2499 and includes a one-year upgrade plan. If you plan to keep it updated after one year, you’ll have to purchase a $399 support and upgrade plan.
- The rental version costs $999 per year. If you are thinking of buying the HD version, it costs about the same as two and one-half years’ rental subscription. Unlike its other rental choices, Avid doesn’t offer the HD standalone version on a monthly plan; it’s annual-only.
If you’re a Pro Tools Standard user, you can upgrade to the standalone version. Simply pay the difference between Standard and HD, which is $1899.
Is it Worth the Investment?
While $2499 may seem expensive, it’s a good investment if you look deeper than the total price. Before version 12.6, if you worked from home and needed HD-only components, you had to buy the HD Omni interface, an HD Native card, and the software, for a price of approximately $5000. Now that these options are unbundled, you can get the software and access to HD-only features for about $200 a month for one year.